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The parsnip is often cultivated in the temperate zone for its edible root, there are a number of named varieties. Normally cultivated as a winter root crop, some cultivars are faster to mature and can be available in late summer. The roots are very frost hardy and can be left in the ground to be harvested as required, though they can also be lifted in the autumn and stored for a few months. The flowers are very attractive to hover flies and predatory wasps. Plants have very few insect pests, though they are sometimes attacked by carrot root fly. Growing onions with the parsnips can reduce the damage.
Roots of the wild form can quite quickly be increased in size by selective breeding and good cultivation, it is possible to obtain good sized roots in only 6 years.